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It was in 1976 that the idea of HopeWorks took root. A task force studying the needs of abused Howard County women saw a lack of support and assistance. No county agency was there to help. A small group of concerned citizens founded and incorporated Citizens Against Spousal Assault (CASA) in 1978. The members established a helpline answered by trained volunteers. The first shelter was in a motel, paid for by fundraising efforts. County residents provided temporary shelter for women and children.
The next ten years saw steady expansion including a name change to the Domestic Violence Center (DVC) and, in 1989, the agency opened a transitional shelter where women and children could live for up to twelve months. Today, shelters are located in fully furnished homes throughout the county.
In 2010, our mission expanded to also provide comprehensive services to survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault. In the fall of 2013, we evolved to HopeWorks. The new name expresses our evolution as an agency that not only supports and advocates for survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence but is also at the forefront of creating lasting change. Hope is what motivates us. The work we do together is what will bring change. In 2019, we formally added our Anti-Trafficking Department to build greater capacity to respond to survivors of sex trafficking and to prevent human trafficking in our community. Our staff has grown to more than 40 and our backbone continues to be committed, well-trained volunteers who assist in many ways.
A lot has changed since 1976. Change must continue.
Every day we move a step closer to creating lasting change thanks to our board, staff, volunteers, local government, and the entire Howard County community, all working together.